The Simon Payne rollercoaster ride
Day two of the Puma Moth World Championship was graced with similar light sea breeze and the ‘shamal’ effect, creating a sandy haze over the sea and land that initially meant that you couldn’t see the complete race course. And as with day one, Melbourne-based Bladerider/Mach 2 designer Andrew McDougall continues to lead on 15 points to second placed Mike Lennon’s 24.
Three races were shoehorned in today. The first was held with a 0.9 mile beat with the intention of sailing three laps but with the wind starting at 8 knots and then dropping to 5-6 with large wind holes across the course, it was shortened to one lap. For the subsequent two races PRO David Campbell-James shortened the course to 0.6 miles and 0.75 miles respectively, both held in slightly more stable conditions and pressure the wind topping out at 11 knots on the committee boat.
As was the case yesterday, the marginal foiling conditions separated the experienced from the inexperienced and so it was that Andrew McDougall scored his second back to back bullet of the series. He led up the beat with Britain’s former Moth World Champion Simon Payne and both nearly lost it coming into the top mark as the wind dropped off.
“We tacked on the lowriding layline to not go too far away from the mark, because the foiling layline in that sort of wind is way out and you can’t afford to get caught out in it,” explained McDougall.
When non-foiling, or ‘lowriding’, Moths point like any normal boat and this is the same when up on foils in anything over 12 knots. But in the marginal foiling conditions below 12 knots McDougall says there are two hugely different modes – bearing off on foils, in which case you can be as much as 80degrees off the wind or low riding when you are slower, but only 40-45 degrees off.
“There is definitely a point where you can foil, but lowriding is faster because the angles are just so extreme,” continued McDougall, although he adds that the occasions when this is the case for him are rare with his set-up.
On the run McDougall found the wind going soft and had to take radical steps to keep going. Second placed Simon Payne explained: “AMac was crazy – half way down the run he just hardened up on a lowriding beat and went back in search of breeze, which was almost suicidal. But he got the gust and took it down to the finish.” McDougall had broken away from those chasing him and said he’d been uncertain of how his play would end up at the line simply because in the haze he couldn’t see the other boats. However it went his way
Simon Payne took over the lead of the Puma Moth World Champion after he won today’s second race that left him with a score line of 5-2-1 to McDougall’s 1-1-11. But then on the first beat of today’s third and last race, disaster struck when his mast broke about 0.3m down from the join in the two piece carbon fibre spar. “I’ve never broken one there before, but they are pretty loaded up at that stage,” said Payne. He has since sourced a replacement spar as well as another piece of the 2mm (!) thick Element C6 carbon rigging. A discard kicks in after race five and so providing he does well tomorrow, he could be back at the top of the pile.
As to the race he won today, Payne was first to the weather mark ahead of 2009 World Champion Bora Gulari and spent the rest of the race that way, Gulari a little faster on the run and Payne faster on the beat.
Race three was won by the man with the coolest name in yachting – Brad Funk - who is currently taking a break from Olympic Laser sailing for the US team. Funk had a Bladerider last year which he raced at the Worlds in the Gorge, changing to the Mach 2 in January this year. “It is good racing. I love it. It is a great boat. It is so much fun,” he enthuses about the class.
With Laser Olympic sailing in his blood, Funk is clearly one of the forces to be reckoned with when conditions get a little less...funky, as was the case in today’s third race. Prior to this Funk said he was having trouble starting. “When the breeze is light just realising how early you have to get on the foils - the calibration for that is pretty key. Then just staying on the foils all the way around I had trouble doing that so I definitely lost places when I was doing a little bit better. That is making me want to lose weight more and more!”
In the final race Funk came off the start line well and tacked in pressure, led around the top mark ahead of European Champion Arnaud Psarofaghis. “I tried to minimise the tacks because my tacks are still really poor. I flipped today on one tack. It is a really big loser against a lot of these guys if you can’t tack effectively. But that is just for me. The other guys can tack at will and stay in phase and hit shifts or stay in pressure. That is the only reason I’d tack - to stay in pressure.”
After four races, Mike Lennon is now top Brit, holding second place after scoring a consistent, but slightly below average for him 8-8-6 today. Things could have been a lot worse when the Hyde Sail boss was OCS in today’s first race and had to loop back around the pin to restart. “Fortunately people stopped foiling and that allowed me to get back," said Lennon. "I picked up on the last run when I got foiling and most of the boats around me weren’t.”
With Payne suffering from his last race today and now tenth overall, Adam May is second placed Brit in eighth place, which he is happy with considering his lack of practice prior to this event. He would have been top five had it not been for today's last race when on two occasions he snagged plastic bags with his foils and had to capsize in order to get them off.
Racing continues tomorrow with another three races with conditions expected to be much the same the last two days. We may even get to see the Dubai skyline one of these days.
|1||Andrew McDougall||Mach 2||AUS||1||1||11||2||15|
|2||Michael Lennon||Mach 2||GBR||2||8||8||6||24|
|3||Brad Funk||Mach 2||USA||3||11||10||1||25|
|4||Scott Babbage||Mach 2||AUS||8||4||9||5||26|
|6||Bora Gulari||Mach 2||USA||12||10||2||7||31|
|7||Arnaud Psarofaghis||Mach 2||SUI||17||9||3||3||32|
|8||Adam May||Mach 2||GBR||6||5||6||16||33|
|9||Dalton Bergan||Mach 2||USA||10||20||4||4||38|
|10||Simon Payne||Mach 2||UK||5||2||1||45||53|
|11||Rob Gough||Mach 2||AUS||11||18||12||12||53|
|12||Ricky Tagg||Mach 2||GBR||9||17||15||13||54|
|13||Jean-Pierre Ziegert||Mach 2||SUI||19||16||13||9||57|
|14||Mark Robinson||Mach 2||SGP||16||23||5||14||58|
|15||Zack Maxam||Mach 2||USA||14||15||14||15||58|
|16||Tomaz Copi||Mach 2||SVN||7||3||45||11||66|
|18||George Peet||Mach 2||USA||23||14||16||18||71|
|19||Alex Adams||Full Force||GBR||18||24||17||17||76|
|20||Mikis Psarofaghis||Mach 2||SUI||15||28||20||19||82|
|21||Martin Gravare||Mach 2||SWE||13||19||45||8||85|
|24||Paul Hayden||Mach 2||GBR||20||22||23||24||89|
|25||Glenn Raphael||Mach 2||UAE||35||35||18||21||109|
|27||Ben Crocker||Prowler Zero||AUS||32||27||25||29||113|
|29||James Phare||Mach 2||GBR||26||21||45||23||115|
|32||Dion Houghton||Mach 2||HKG||34||32||27||31||124|
|35||Tim Penfold||Mach 2||38||45||19||33||135|
|38||Richard Davies||Bladerider X8||UK||39||34||34||37||144|
|39||Dirk Weiblen||Mach 2||CHN||42||38||37||38||155|
|40||Per Eskilson||Bladerider X8||SWE||40||45||36||36||157|
|41||Lindsey Bergan||Mach 2||USA||25||45||45||45||160|